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Discussion Starter #1
My Ridgeline was great for the fist 30k miles and 3 years. I used D4 all the time for engine breaking. Now it has started this very strange behavior, and only when well warmed, maybe 30 minutes of driving.

When first decelorating from say 45mph, in D4, all is normal, and as it has always been. The tach will be somewhere are 3,000. Then it just seems to disengage, you feel the loss of breaking, the tach drops to about 1,000, its like it went back to drive, as if I had turned D4 off, but the dash indicated still reads D4. This may continue free rolling for a bit, then the tach rises again, breaking resumes. This will repeat unpredictably, as I continue to decelorate.

One theory is that the torgue converter lock-up clutch is activating and deactivating, and that seems right to me.

Dealer claims it is normal, sent the info with a video I made off to Honda and they said "normal" too. I asked, which is normal, the way it has always performed, and still does when cold, or this new wierd behavior? Both? And who would want to be driving down a long steep hill, with a load, and just inexplicably loose the engine breaking? It is not normal. I'll have to go to another dealer and hope for an override of this "stall" that I am getting from both the dealer and Honda.

Anyone have a similar problem? Any advice how to deal with the dealer? With Honda? This could really be a safety issue, one looses breaking!
 

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I'm not sure if the D4 button is documented fully anywhere. It almost sounds like there is some sort of protection mechanism that allows the transmission to upshift even in D4 if it feels it needs to for some reason. I haven't used D4 enough to know. I'm curious to see what would happen if I took it out on the highway in D4 and just hammered the gas. I know in some other cars I had they would run all day long or until you were out of gas in 3rd or 4th gear when you used the "D4" button.
 

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I use D4 all the time for decelerating, sometimes for a mile straight and I have never had this happen once. If someone tells you it's normal, I would ask why and what is causing the behavior.

Are you doing this on some sort of downhill where you actually need engine braking?

Mike
 

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Try disabling your VCM. When VCM is engaged it un-locks the torque converter to help lesson the vibrations during 3-cylinder mode. While VCM is engaged, Honda cycles it on and off to lesson the damage effects of the earlier version. That may be the side effects your feeling.

When I installed a VCMuzzler on my RL and Pilot, they both felt like they had more engine braking effect.
 

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Try disabling your VCM. When VCM is engaged it un-locks the torque converter to help lesson the vibrations during 3-cylinder mode.
The torque converter only unlocks momentarily during transitions into and out of 3-cylinder mode. Once in 3-cylinder mode, the torque converter locks back up.
 

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The torque converter only unlocks momentarily during transitions into and out of 3-cylinder mode. Once in 3-cylinder mode, the torque converter locks back up.
True, but it doesn't stay in 3-cylinder mode. Its cycled on/off to increase disabled cylinders health to prevent earlier version problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited by Moderator)
I use D4 all the time for decelerating, sometimes for a mile straight and I have never had this happen once. If someone tells you it's normal, I would ask why and what is causing the behavior.

Are you doing this on some sort of downhill where you actually need engine braking?

Mike
Yes, downhill, and I have made several runs on the same hill and it behaves normally until warm enough and then fails every time after that.
If it were an attempt to protect the torque converter from overheating, it would lock it up, not unlock it! If it needed to protect itself from something (there is nothing damaging about my coasting down the hill), you would expect it to throw a code. I suspect the absence of a code is why the dealer and Honda are dismissing this and not taking it seriously. They are certainly not motivated to agree and find a need to replace the transmission under warranty!

Try disabling your VCM. When VCM is engaged it un-locks the torque converter to help lesson the vibrations during 3-cylinder mode. While VCM is engaged, Honda cycles it on and off to lesson the damage effects of the earlier version. That may be the side effects your feeling.

When I installed a VCMuzzler on my RL and Pilot, they both felt like they had more engine braking effect.
How can I diasble it? Why would it be activated when coasting down a hill? Thanks

By “disabling VCM” he means to add an after market device such as VCMuzzler or SVCM that essentially modifies the engine coolant temperature reported to the PCM to below the VCM enable threshold of about 170F.
Try applying light pressure to the throttle pedal during this condition and observe the tach to determine if the AT is in a higher gear or disconnected (like in neutral) from the engine. Also try the same test on a flat stretch of road to see if the same symptoms occur. This AT has grade logic control so it theoretically know the vehicle is descending a slope. You can also try L position at lower speeds to see if normal engine braking occurs.
Check the ATF fluid level and if you haven’t had the ATF changed yet I would have that service performed. Would be surprised if changing the ATF made a difference but it’s due to be changed anyway.
 

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When you have your foot in the gas such as climbing a hill, VCM activates all 6 cylinders. With less throttle such as level roads or going down hills, less power is required, VCM will shift to 3 cylinders. VCM does not become active till the engine temperature is over 165 degrees f. So the purpose of the defeat device is to trick the PCM to see ECT1 temperature maintained around 165 degrees.

To disable VCM you need a defeat device. For the last 3+ years, I'm using VCMuzzle II on both of mine which uses resistors to fine tune with. The 100 ohm resistor is the sweet spot on mine. If I was buying today, I would get the more advanced devices such as SVCM or VCMtuner II which is my preference.

VCMuzzler II: (basic resistor changing to tune, but I use one resistor (100 ohm) year round with no issues).

S-VCM: (advanced)

VCMTUNER II: (i feel is more advanced, with some options)

Use the Advanced Search under the top right 3 dots options, and search 'VCM' for operations, defeat devices, peoples preference to defeat or not.

Some FAQ on disabling:
 
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Discussion Starter #11
By “disabling VCM” he means to add an after market device such as VCMuzzler or SVCM that essentially modifies the engine coolant temperature reported to the PCM to below the VCM enable threshold of about 170F.
Try applying light pressure to the throttle pedal during this condition and observe the tach to determine if the AT is in a higher gear or disconnected (like in neutral) from the engine. Also try the same test on a flat stretch of road to see if the same symptoms occur. This AT has grade logic control so it theoretically know the vehicle is descending a slope. You can also try L position at lower speeds to see if normal engine braking occurs.
Check the ATF fluid level and if you haven’t had the ATF changed yet I would have that service performed. Would be surprised if changing the ATF made a difference but it’s due to be changed anyway.
It does feel like neutral, and it often does rev up a bit before grabbing a bit harshly when this happens. It feels like the lockup clutch must not be engaged, then does engage when rpms come up.

I typically used D4 any time I anticipated a long deceleration. Thanks
 

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Used D4 today, coasting down from the Eisenhower tunnel to Silverthorne (Colorado), its a VERY big hill several miles long, car stayed around 3000k rpm as op mentioned. Still had to use the brakes occasionally, but engine braking definitely helped keep the car in control the whole way down.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I use D4 all the time for decelerating, sometimes for a mile straight and I have never had this happen once. If someone tells you it's normal, I would ask why and what is causing the behavior.

Are you doing this on some sort of downhill where you actually need engine braking?

Mike
Both, as a convenience to slow down for an intersection and also on downhills. Thanks
 

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Both, as a convenience to slow down for an intersection and also on downhills. Thanks
It sounds like you drive just like I do, except I've never had the problem you're experiencing. I don't know how to help if the dealership isn't willing to help out.

-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The torque converter only unlocks momentarily during transitions into and out of 3-cylinder mode. Once in 3-cylinder mode, the torque converter locks back up.
I have convinced myself that the issue I am having is due to the TC becoming unlocked eratically. I've learned from another contributer that by feathering the throttle, one can recognize if TC is locked. When decelerating in Drive, it is not locked, allowing the vehicle is almost free wheel along with little drag. When decelerating in D4, the TC IS locked, and always before stayed locked. Now as speed gets to maybe 40, tach will suddenly drop indication that it is no longer locked. After that the tach wavers "aimlessly" up and down and little drag is felt.
 

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When decelerating in Drive, it is not locked...
It should be. From the service information:

Lock-Up Mechanism
The lock-up causes the input shaft (mainshaft) to rotate at the same speed as the engine crankshaft by engaging the torque converter cover with the turbine by the torque converter clutch. Together with the hydraulic control, the PCM optimizes the timing and degree of lock-up. The lock-up mechanism operates in D (during accelerating: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th gears/during decelerating: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th gears), D4 driving mode (during accelerating: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears/during decelerating: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears), and in L (during accelerating: 1st and 2nd gears/during decelerating: 2nd gear). The torque converter clutch is in the torque converter. The multi-plate torque converter clutch increases the torque capacity and increases the lock-up clutch surface area, improving fuel economy and durability.
 

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No other symptoms? Excessive flaring at upshifts or unusually rough downshifts? I’m not really sure that engine RPM would drop to idle if the TC unlocks during engine braking. At least I know back before ATs had locking TCs engine braking still worked.
Check The ATF level and condition. If something is mechanically failing in the AT then it should look and smell bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No other symptoms? Excessive flaring at upshifts or unusually rough downshifts? I’m not really sure that engine RPM would drop to idle if the TC unlocks during engine braking. At least I know back before ATs had locking TCs engine braking still worked.
Check The ATF level and condition. If something is mechanically failing in the AT then it should look and smell bad.
First to clarify myself, RPMs do not drop to idle, more like 1100 or 1000, about what we might expect from the unlocked TC. There is another symptom, that being when this seeming unlocking occurs, hitting the throttle will cause a hefty jump in RPM before abruptly engaging. After doing that, it will continue to be locked for a second maybe, then unlock again. Also, in between locked and unlocked states, rpm drifts around, as if it wants to lock, but just can't find the pressure to do it. Giving a bit of gas, revs it up enough to get the necessary pressure, for a second or so, at least that is how it seems. Thanks
 
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